To Black & Brown Children:

by Elizabeth Hazzard

I hate to burst your bubble, but this world will never love you.

I burst your bubble now, because if I don’t 

a sworn-under-oath gun will later – 

it will happen at a place you would least expect to end,

during a time when you’ll be minding your own business –

walking with a “threatening” hoodie on or surrendering

with your palms facing a squad of officers and their drawn

“non-threatening” weapons; or running away with warm breath

(the milk still on it)

surging through the pale pink lungs

of your adolescent body.

It will happen:

so quickly,

so carelessly,

so viciously,


(“watch out, it’s drawing its skittles on us”)ly


(“choke tighter, til it turns uniform blue”)ly


(“being black is the weapon”)ly


(“watch the wild thing run, aim for its spine”)ly


(“hoodlums do not deserve childhoods”)ly


(“lay down the law, pick up the body lifeless”)ly

so paid leave-ly

so often-ly

so bullseye-ly.

It will happen

at the hands of those

who are supposed, to be trusted;

at the hands of a country which claims

to love all of its people, they will waste

you baby, waste you as though you never even existed –

without chance to neither plea nor to flee,

because here children of your tone are not given chances –

only emptied, apathetic cartridges.

When the bullet strikes, at first, you will writhe

a little, and then the color of your face (what a beautiful color)

will subside into the dead of the crisp, white chalk outline

and your bright red blood (what a beautiful lineage) will seep

lackadaisically across the coolness of the pavement;

and the murderer who did this to you will be protected

by the “constitution” which did not include you

and you’ll realize in that moment that you weren’t invited

to the star-spangled establishment of these foreign things

called “freedom” and “rights”.

I burst your bubble now, because if I don’t –

America will burst it and you later.

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